One of the latest additions to Leeds, CAU is an Argentinian restaurant that’s all about beef.
Leeds is now home to one of Argentina’s finest exports – CAU is a brand new restaurant in Victoria Gate that’s bringing a touch of Buenos Aires to the £165 million shopping centre, with a menu that will make meat lovers cry with happiness.
It’s the latest in a series of Northern openings in the past few years, arriving in places like Harrogate, Liverpool and Manchester. Their Leeds restaurant takes their number up to 21 in the UK, with another across the North Sea in Amsterdam. There’s a good reason why it’s spreading so quickly too.
CAU is all about the food, so let’s dive straight in. The menu offers up plenty of options, but they’re renowned for their steaks, and you won’t be stuck for choice. They do Tapa de Cuadril in two sizes, with Rump, Rib-Eye and Sirloin in three – and if you’re after something a little bit special, you can also get, Lomito, Asado de Choirzo and Tira de Ancho in three sizes. The best of the bunch though, is the CAU Feasting Plate, which gives you 400 grams of each.
But what makes CAU’s steaks so special? Well, it’s grass-fed, free range Aberdeen Angus cattle that comes directly from the Pampas Plains on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and it’s aged for a minimum of 30 days before being cut to order exactly how CAU wants them.
Charley Springall, CAU’s Head of Marketing, is in no doubt as to why they’re the first port of call on their menu, “Our classic steak highlights including a Tira de Ancho, often referred to as ‘the king of steaks’ is an absolute must-try, alongside a spiral cut of rib-eye, marinated in chimichurri and grilled slowly for maximum tenderness and the Lomito, a fillet of rump, considered the finest cut in Argentina are available all year round.”
Alongside the steaks, there are the burgers, which range from The Classic, featuring a handmade patty from their steak cuts with tomato and lettuce, to the Buenos Aires Burger, stacked with BBQ braised beef, Monterey Jack cheese, onion rings and CAUchup. That’s not all you can expect, however – the CAU menu is extensive and changes with the seasons, meaning you can always expect something new.
They have a ‘Small Plates’ section which you can turn into starters or tapas. Think Burnt Tomato Bruschetta, Anticuchos Skewers, Yerba-Smoked Beef, Croquettes, Salt and Pepper Squid and Belly of Pork Tempura. Alternatively, go for one of their steak-free ‘Big Plates’, featuring everything from Spatchcock Chicken to Twice Cooked Pork Belly, Pea and Shallot Ravioli and Grilled Salmon.
Outside of the traditional ‘dinner’ hours, they do a trio of sandwiches, as well as a brunch offering, a lunchtime set menu and a Sunday roast with all the trimmings. Whatever you pick, you can top it off with an extensive array of sides, like CAUslaw, Truffled Mac & Cheese or Creamy Polenta Mash, and sauces, including chimichurri, pepper and smoked garlic aioli. So, while they’re famous for their steaks, there’s more to CAU than first impressions would suggest.
It’s this wide range of options inspired by the Argentinian capital that makes CAU worth a visit, as Springall emphasised, “Our menu embraces Buenos Aires cuisine, a melting pot of comfort food inspired by Italy and Spain alongside the jewel in Argentina’s crown, its beef. Mouthwatering steaks, burgers and steak sandwiches are joined by a tempting selection of moreish favourites, each with a distinctive Buenos Aires twist.”
The Buenos Aires inspiration isn’t just in the food. The venue itself has been dressed up to bring a bit of the vibrancy of the city to Leeds. The walls are draped in corrugated iron, juxtaposing the urban landscape with the agricultural side of Argentina that’s seen with the green ceilings and blue statement walls. All of that surrounds their open kitchen which is dominated by the coal fired oven.
They’ve gone to town on the drinks selection too, and if you like a wine to go with your meal, you’ll be able to try something new here. Their Wine Director Phil Crozier has picked out 16 wines that have been made specifically for CAU restaurants, from the Lorca Graffiti Malbec to the Piche Chardonnay, which are brought in from the Mendoza and Patagonia vineyards in Argentina.
There are also two beers exclusive to CAU, La Gringa Pilsner from Germany and Quilmes Bock Red Lager, amongst others, while the cocktail menu is particularly long serving up classics like Caipirinhas, Manhattans and El Presidentes alongside more intriguing concoctions like CAU-lypso, Bright Blues Skies and Ay Papi!
With all that on offer, it seems like Leeds will be a good fit for CAU, and it’s something that Springall was keen to point out, “Following the success of our opening in Harrogate earlier this year, the arrival of the much anticipated all-new shopping destination in Leeds seemed hugely attractive. This exciting regeneration project of new retailers and restaurants seemed like a natural fit to us. Victoria Gate will become the city’s premier retail, dining and leisure quarter and provide a unique dining environment for our customers.”
Whether it plays out like that, only time will tell, but why not pay Victoria Gate a visit, have a bite to eat at CAU and let us know what you think.
CAU, Victoria Gate, 26 Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7JL.